Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Mirror and Cottonwood Lakes

Mirror and Cottonwood Lakes

Snoqualmie Region


Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass
View map below


2.2 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 870 ft.
Highest Point: 4200 ft.


4.04 out of 5

(27 votes) Log in to rate
WTA worked here: 2013

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Nestled in a quiet basin only a stone’s throw from Snoqualmie Pass, pristine Mirror Lake is a destination to be enjoyed by the whole family. Rarely can you find such lovely sites with so little effort, but here, a short trek will take you through forests, across delicate streams, and past brightly colored wildflowers. Humming with butterflies, birds, bees, and babbling streams, this trail is not to be missed.

From the lower parking area, you’ll notice a small sign pointing toward the Mirror Lake trailhead. Follow the wide, rocky dirt path approximately 0.5 miles to meet the trailhead for Mirror Lake. There is a small parking area adjacent to the trailhead that saves the extra 0.5 mile walk; however, it is strongly recommended that this not be attempted unless you have a jeep or other all-terrain vehicle.

The trailhead is marked with a wooden marker and set of cairns. Keep your eye out for them as they can be easy to miss. Continue down the trail for 0.4 miles where you will come across a small stream. Walk carefully across as the rocks are slippery. In another 0.1 miles consider taking a short detour on the spur trail to Cottonwood Lake. The lake--pond really--is frequented by swimmers looking to beat the heat on a summer day.

After a short but moderately strenuous additional 0.6 miles, you will reach the edges of Mirror Lake. There are campsites dotted all around the shores of the lake as well as spots that are perfect for a picnic or relaxing in the sun.

Note: It is also possible to access Mirror Lake from the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead at Windy Pass. This allows for a gorgeous, 6-mile round trip ramble along the PCT through stunning old-growth and past imposing Silver Peak.

WTA Pro Tip: When you arrive at Mirror Lake, you will come to a junction between the Mirror Lake Trail and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). For those willing to put in just a little extra effort, head south (left) on the PCT following the path along the lake shore for another 0.3 miles. You will come across wonderful, unobstructed views of the lake and Silver Peak standing tall in the distance. And don’t forget to bring your bathing suit! This lake makes for a perfect swimming hole on a hot summer day.


Mirror and Cottonwood Lakes

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.3460, -121.4244 Open map in new window


Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass

Mirror Lake (#1302)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

55 Hikes Around Snoqualmie Pass (Manning & Spring - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207 map

Download a map to plan your hike

Getting There

From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 62 for Stampede Pass/Kachess Lake. At the end of the ramp, turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 54. After approximately 0.5 miles you will go over a bridge crossing the Yakima River. Continue straight on this road for another 0.6 miles and then turn right, leaving the paved road, onto the gravel Forest Road 5480. Proceed with caution along Forest Road 5480 as it runs parallel to the Iron Horse Trail, a popular path for hikers, bikers and cross country skiers.

Continue on this road. 4.2 miles into this section, go straight on the middle road and pass Lost Lake. 6.1 miles from the turn onto FR 5480, reach the sign for Mirror Lake. Most vehicles should stop here, but if you are in a high clearance or off-road vehicle, you may be able to continue the extra 0.5 miles up the steep and rocky dirt road to park at the upper parking area. This should by no means be attempted by low clearance vehicles.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Mirror and Cottonwood Lakes

339 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
Trip Reports